That Was Then, This Is Now: Aimee Byrd Preaches Her First Sunday Morning Sermon

"One can’t help but note that Michael Bird, who co-hosts a podcast with Aimee Byrd, seems to have embarked on a similar trajectory around the same time. In 2012, Bird wrote a book wherein he affirmed male headship as 'normative' and 'indisputable.' Today, he disputes male headship and says he has changed his mind." - CBMW

1515 reads

There are 13 Comments

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Aimee's trajectory is of concern, but the CBMW article conflates her apparently preaching at a church and the role of pastor. A preacher is not the same thing as a pastor. I don't personally believe the NT allows women to preach to men either in a church setting, but Aimee has previously rejected women serving as pastors and then preaches once, does it follow that she has rejected complementarian theology?

It seems a little hasty.

I've sat in many a conservative Baptist church service where a female guest speaker "shared" ministry experiences and spiritual lessons learned and some Scripture. One in particular I recall, the speaker soundly scolded all of us for a good 20 minutes for not being excited enough about her politics. It was definitely the same sort of pulpit work I've endured from many "evangelists"... verse or two + long rant about whatever they're bothered about.

The lines can be fine. I don't think we need to get all panicky about it. But I wonder what Aimee says now about that particular kind of ministry as a woman?

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Paul Henebury's picture

It does not auger well!

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

Jay's picture

Aaron,

CBMW has been howling about Byrd since she dropped the previous book "Recovering From Biblical Manhood and Womanhood" almost two years ago.  They have repeatedly savaged her and her book since that date, on top of her repeated spiritual abuse from others in the OPC who were (at the time) her church leaders.  She has since left not just that church but the OPC entirely after a set of Presbytery trials that largely vindicated her attackers.  Some of the men who exonerated her attackers were involved in the same groups that did the attacking (Genevan Commons).

I have read RFBMW (the week it dropped) and thought the book was terrific and addressed some real problems with our discipleship model and the growth of the "parachurch as discipler" model in the church.  CBMW, however, continues to misrepresent her AND misrepresent the book.  TylerR can also attest to this.

To make a long story short, I wouldn't give CBMW a dime's worth of attention on this topic because they have demonstrated bad faith and/or outright malice to her on multiple occasions.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Jay's picture

Yes, Aimee spoke at Joel's church. I listened to it and was actually disappointed in her, the church and the way she handled the text. But I sure as shooting will not take any CBMW take on her for good or evil. She wrote her own rebuttal that you can read at https://t.co/azLY47yYjo

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Don Johnson's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:

I've sat in many a conservative Baptist church service where a female guest speaker "shared" ministry experiences and spiritual lessons learned and some Scripture. One in particular I recall, the speaker soundly scolded all of us for a good 20 minutes for not being excited enough about her politics. It was definitely the same sort of pulpit work I've endured from many "evangelists"... verse or two + long rant about whatever they're bothered about.

Your description reinforces my opposition to single women missionaries (generally speaking, though I have known some fine godly women who have served as such), and my absolute opposition to giving the pulpit to women, other than to make announcements about church activities.

It is too easy to go over the line and meddle with matters the Scriptures do not countenance.

 

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Don Johnson wrote:

Your description reinforces my opposition to single women missionaries (generally speaking, though I have known some fine godly women who have served as such), and my absolute opposition to giving the pulpit to women, other than to make announcements about church activities.

It is too easy to go over the line and meddle with matters the Scriptures do not countenance.

I'm not opposed to the concept of a single female missionary if done correctly and carefully.  Our church supports one such, and has for years.  She is a nurse, and she does not serve alone on her field.  She works together with a missionary family working there as well, and the husband of that family is the pastor of the ministry.  Because of the field she works in, she works a lot with the various women there, and does teach them, as well as children, in addition to her medical clinic work.

When we have her to speak when she is on furlough, she reports on her field, and does not teach the scriptures, though I've heard her quote a verse or have one in her presentations.  Unlike with many or most of the missionary families we support, she doesn't have the preaching part of the service, as many male missionaries do, nor does she lead the congregation in prayer.

As to women at the pulpit in general, I'm not sure my church has even had a woman do an announcement from the pulpit, though we have had solos or groups sing at the pulpit that were all women.  Also anyone who joins our church gives a testimony of their salvation and reasons for joining from the front, though not usually directly behind the pulpit.

Dave Barnhart

Andrew K's picture

Jay wrote:

Yes, Aimee spoke at Joel's church. I listened to it and was actually disappointed in her, the church and the way she handled the text. But I sure as shooting will not take any CBMW take on her for good or evil. She wrote her own rebuttal that you can read at https://t.co/azLY47yYjo

I found her rebuttal more disturbing than the preaching itself: 

"Yas, I'm coyly moving toward egal b/c they were nicer to me lol. Here's some bad exegesis."

I have egalitarian friends, and know women pastors whom I consider sisters in Christ. In error, but fellow-believers. In Byrd's case, however, I've been more critical because I feel like someone was given a platform who really wasn't suited by either qualifications or experience, and eventually it showed.

In the early days of MOS I enjoyed listening to her, but gradually became disillusioned. She seemed to have this strong desire to be a "prophetic voice" to the church and her small denomination but didn't really have the depth to perform any serious critique.

She also began delving into Roman Catholic mysticism in lieu of any genuine Biblical insights about gender, which she synthesized with Reformed Biblical Theology, and was heard regularly quoting such luminaries as Pope John Paul II. Not inherently problematic perhaps, but somewhat worrisome for someone without formal, theological or academic training.

She wrote one or two good books. More than most of us. That should be enough for anyone.

Jay's picture

I found her rebuttal more disturbing than the preaching itself: 

"Yas, I'm coyly moving toward egal b/c they were nicer to me lol. Here's some bad exegesis."

If she's coyly moving towards egalitarianism, she's doing a bad job of it since she expressly rejects both labels and has for years.

She also began delving into Roman Catholic mysticism in lieu of any genuine Biblical insights about gender, which she synthesized with Reformed Biblical Theology, and was heard regularly quoting such luminaries as Pope John Paul II.

I don't think citing someone is the same as "delving into mysticism", but let's keep in mind that CBMW has quoted or referred to Pope John Paul II on several occasions (there's one example here on pg. 9) in a positive light during their history.  This was a good-sized article in their second newsletter, as a matter of fact.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

T Howard's picture

Like Andrew, I found Aimee's rebuttal quite sad. Her decision to move toward egalitarianism (if not a complete egal) is based more on emotion and her "victimization" in the OPC than it is on sound reason and exegesis. The exegetical snippets she does provide to defend her position have all been addressed many years ago. In other words, she relies on old, already answered arguments.

Now, I acknowledge I haven't read any of her books or the CBMW's take on her books, but I do tire of the "I'm a victim of mean men who are trying to bully me" defense. You wrote a book on a controversial theological and ecclesiastical topic. You knew you would face significant pushback. Did you anticipate the counter arguments when you wrote your book? Facing withering criticism for writing a poorly argued book about a controversial topic should be expected.

That said, I don't doubt that some people responded to Aimee in a mean-spirited way. They loved the fight more than they loved Aimee, their sister in Christ.

Andrew K's picture

Jay wrote:

I found her rebuttal more disturbing than the preaching itself: 

"Yas, I'm coyly moving toward egal b/c they were nicer to me lol. Here's some bad exegesis."

If she's coyly moving towards egalitarianism, she's doing a bad job of it since she expressly rejects both labels and has for years.

She also began delving into Roman Catholic mysticism in lieu of any genuine Biblical insights about gender, which she synthesized with Reformed Biblical Theology, and was heard regularly quoting such luminaries as Pope John Paul II.

I don't think citing someone is the same as "delving into mysticism", but let's keep in mind that CBMW has quoted or referred to Pope John Paul II on several occasions (there's one example here on pg. 9) in a positive light during their history.  This was a good-sized article in their second newsletter, as a matter of fact.

Some people don't like labels because they don't like the label's effects on their target audience. Or they just have an emotional aversion to being labeled. It's immaterial. 

As to the mysticism, here I have more in mind than simply quoting John Paul II. Like I said, I've followed her work and her blog for a while. Even bought a few of her books for my wife.

Jay's picture

Well, for whatever it's worth I can't take the label complementarian either anymore with all the junk they're tying to it these days, and I certainly can't say that complementarianism is a "second-order doctrine with first-order implications" (Burk).  It's either first-order or it isn't; I can not and will not elevate complementarianism to the same level as the deity of Christ or Biblical inerrancy.  

I think a lot of this, though, is simply exhaustion with the entire argument. It used to be "Yes, I'm complementarian" as a way from differentiating yourself from feminism.  Now it's morphed into a shibboleth and a literal test of orthodoxy.  

I haven't read Aimee's books and aren't sure where she's going theologically but I am keeping an eye on the situation.  Thanks for the discussion.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

all the junk they're tying to it these days

What junk and who are "they"?

As a doctrine, it's got a very simple core claim: God has made men and women equally human but with different roles and the different roles complement eachother. All the rest is, in the old, old lingo, accidental not essential. But I suppose it's fair enough to say that sometimes labels get corrupted and you can't communicate with them effectively anymore. But then, what would this teaching be called?

As for second-order and first-order... lots of teaching could be termed second-order with first-order implications. It seems fair to describe this one that way. For example, to be a Christian, you don't have to believe that Joseph of Arimathea really had anything to do with the burial of Jesus, but denying it has a pretty serious ripple effect on how you interpret the whole NT (if we can pick and choose clear statements of fact, then what?).  

So... it won't do to say a teaching is first order or not important at all.  

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Jay's picture

Aaron-

CBMW is beginning to tie their ideas of Biblical personhood to ontology, not Scripture.  You must fulfill the role that they have defined for you based on your gender, not on actual Biblical doctrine.  That's the first issue, and they did an entire issue about that in Eikon:

We are excited that the Fall 2020 issue of Eikon is devoted almost exclusively to the topics above, whether using the taxonomic categories of “natural law,” “creation order,” or “general revelation.” We believe the disjunction between Protestant rejection of natural law and Catholic reception of natural law need not be as stark as commonly rendered. To that end, we present this issue to remedy an ethical imbalance within the Protestant tradition that needs retrieval consistent with our Reformational heritage. We have assembled a roster of natural law thinkers hoping to speak “with one voice” about the ways God has ordered this world for our good, and ultimately, for his glory. 

In another article within the same journal, Patrick Schreiner wrote this:

I agree. Ontological, metaphysical, natural-law grounds are needed as a harmonizing foundation to exegesis for gender complementarity. To put this another way, it is hard to know the ought without an understanding of the is.

You don't harmonize exegesis to ontological or natural-law grounds.  You harmonize ontology/natural law to what Scripture teaches first and foremost.  What Schreiner is doing is undercutting Sola Scriptura by supplementing the Bible with his ideas on ontology.

It gets worse:

Constructing Masculinity and Femininity

So based on biology and sociology, how should we describe masculinity and femininity? If biology is aimed and ordered, if it is a bow pulled taught, if it has a telos, then at what is it aimed?

The most succinct and useful definition has come from J. Budziszewski in his book On the Meaning of Sex.[24] Budziszewski begins with biology because the physical points to something spiritual. The body speaks and pushes us to more ontological and philosophical concepts. He provides the following summative statements based on a theology of the body.[25]

  • The fundamental meaning of masculinity is potentiality toward paternity.
  • The fundamental meaning of womanhood is potentiality toward maternity.

Pope John Paul II, who has has written about the body and the relationships between male and female, says, “masculinity and femininity [are] . . . two ways of ‘being a body.’” This is what Spanish philosopher Julian Marias referred to as our “sexuate condition,” referring to everything that is involved in our being sexed (not merely our sexual activity). This includes the biological, but it also includes more.[26]

Budziszewski gives the example of sitting down with a college student who was contending men and women can all do the same things. Budziszewski pointed out there is one very important thing that women can do that men can’t: give birth. Along the same lines, women can’t father children. Biologically, this indicates a difference.

I get that he's critiquing Budziszewski and that there are points of alignment, but I have no interest in defining a 'biblical' role and then tying that 'biblical' role to anatomy or ontology.  Biblical roles stand alone and are applied alone.

I'm also very opposed to the refrain of 'if you deny complementarianism, you are denying inerrancy'.  That's putting the cart before the horse.  Inerrancy leads us to conclusions, and to say that complementarianism has to be that tightly yoked to inerrancy means that complementarianism is a primary or first order doctrine.  Denny Burk does a tap dance and says that comp is a 'second-order doctrine with first-order implications', but you can't have it both ways.  Either complementarianism IS a first-order doctrine with first-order implications - on a par with the Virgin Birth, Sola Fide, and Inerrancy - or it is not.  If it's a second-order doctrine, then CBMW needs to stop making it a litmus test for fellowship within SBC (and other) circles.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells